To help mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on arbitrations and alternative dispute resolutions, Singapore’s Maxwell Chambers has joined forces with international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution hearing centres in the UK and Canada to form the International Arbitration Centre Alliance (IACA).
The alliance with the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC) of London and the Arbitration Place of Toronto and Ottawa is aimed at reducing the distance, time-zone, and countless other challenges associated with planning and conducting international arbitration hearings and ADR proceedings in the wake of Covid-19.
In a joint statement, the CEOs of the three founding centres, Damian Hickman, Katherine Yap and Kimberley Stewart, said:
“The alliance breaks barriers and builds international bridges, providing the platform for our partners to connect globally, allowing a seamless and smooth dispute resolution experience. This is something the dispute resolution world desperately needs right now because of Covid-19 travel and assembly restrictions. We also firmly believe it’s the way of the future. International arbitration practitioners are becoming comfortable with virtual hearings. Longer term, even when global travel restrictions are eased, virtual will be used regularly to reduce travel time and cost.”
Together as IACA, the three partners will provide global hybrid hearings through a combination of physical and virtual attendance methods so all parties, counsel, arbitrators, arbitral secretaries, witnesses, arbitral institutions, court reporters and translators can participate fully and easily, no matter where in the world they are located.
Some will attend the IACA facility closest to them and participate either in a group room with distancing protocols, or in private technology suites with videoconferencing connections. Others will connect remotely using a secure virtual platform. Also, for those investor-state arbitrations that are open to the public (in whole or in part), IACA can make hearings widely accessible around the world.